Wednesday 26 August 2009

Bible Book:
1 Thessalonians

"For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts." (v.3-4)

1 Thessalonians 2:1-13 Wednesday 26 August 2009


In some ways it is reassuring, but also concerning, that many ofthose we consider religious 'charlatans' have been around since theformation of the Church 2000 years ago. Some would argue that aslong as the Christian faith offers hope, transformation andredemption for those in need, there will be others who seek to takeadvantage of them for selfish reasons.

There is little doubt that those who are called to preach arecharged to do so with integrity, genuineness and impartiality, andScripture clearly suggests that they will be held to account ifthey do not carry out this injunction. Today's passage clearlyshows that those who preach and teach will be accountable to a godwho 'tests hearts' for sincerity of motives. This is becausepreaching is such an important responsibility that it should not beentrusted to just anyone. Within some Christian traditions, thepreacher is the man or woman 'of God' - the shepherd who has beenentrusted to look after the flock. The shepherds who lead theirimpressionable flock astray through false teaching that plays fastand loose with the Scriptures are dangerous people indeed.

In the same way that most would not submit themselves to anunqualified dentist or send a child to a school whose teachers arebereft of training, those called to deliver the 'word' should be"approved by God to be entrusted with ... the gospel". If this isnot the situation, then, just like the dentist's patient or schoolpupil, the believer will be damaged.

The term 'approved' suggests that such a man or a woman hasundergone some form of testing to ensure they are up to the mark.As well as a rigorous testing system, another defence against falseteaching involves believers being more knowledgeable about allaspects of Scripture. This not only enables them to put up a strongdefence of Scripture, it also equips them with the ability todifferentiate between correct and erroneous preaching and teaching.As a result, Christians will have real leaders rather than thosewho would lead us astray!

To Ponder

How can we safeguard against false teaching?

What are the main responsibilities of those whocall themselves preachers and teachers?

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